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Binomial nomenclature Question

Discussion in 'Tarantula Questions & Discussions' started by WildSpider, Jul 31, 2018.

  1. WildSpider

    WildSpider Arachnobaron Active Member

    There are species where the second word of the scientific name is the same. For example: Grammostola pulchripes and Harpactira pulchripes. Why do both species have pulchripes as the second word? Is it characteristics that both species share?
  2. Venom1080

    Venom1080 Arachnoemperor

    I don't know the exact reason. But I'm definitely going with no on your question. There's quite a few examples of this by the way. Ex Poecilotheria smithi and Brachypelma smithi.

    @boina i imagine you know exactly why.
  3. Greasylake

    Greasylake Arachnoprince

    I think it might just be animals being named after the same person/thing or scientists running out of ideas. There's a lot of species out there to name and I don't think there's enough words in all the world's languages to give them all unique names.
  4. boina

    boina Lady of the mites Arachnosupporter

    Well, a scientist who first scientifically describes a species has the right to name it and he/she can pretty much name it whatever they want. There are some rules, of course, but only the whole name, meaning genus (first) name + species (second) name together, needs to be unique. We know there are the weirdest species names around, like johnnycashi... In this case pulchripes just means beautiful feet (pulcher/pulchra = beautiful in Latin, pes = foot). Obviously the first decriber thought they all had beautiful feet ;).

    Edited to add: Pus is the Greek version of pes, so everything that ends on pus or pes is talking about feet - Hapalopus, Phormictopus...
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2018
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  5. WildSpider

    WildSpider Arachnobaron Active Member

    Thanks so much for this answer! This really helps clear things up :).
  6. MikeyD

    MikeyD Arachnosquire

    If you lean about the suffixes used in naming you will have a much better understanding of what the names mean. They can seem so confusing or intimidating otherwise. The species name smithi was mentioned above and if you look at it you see the suffix i (its often ii as well) and when you see that suffix you know that the species was named after a person. The suffix i or ii means that species was named after a man( Mr. Smith to be exact), the suffix ae means it was named after a woman, and the suffix iana means the species was named in commemoration of someone. I guess that begs the question why Aponopelma johnnycashi wasn't written A. johnnycashiana when it was described in the literature. In any case, when you see species such as Aponopelma seemani, vorhiesi, marxi, all ending in i it's because they are named after the person (and a man) who discovered them.
    Species names can also be descriptive. Species such as Brachypelma albopilosum, the words albo (white) and pilosum (hairs/hairy) describe a physical characteristic of that species. Another common one you will see is the suffix ensis and this means of a place, so in the case of Heterothele gabonensis it is telling you that the species is found in Gabon (Gabon, west Africa).
    There are many Latin and Greek suffixes and prefixes and descriptors that you can learn and it will help you understand so much more about a species, anything from how it looks, where it's from, who described it, even it's preferred habitat. My favourite habitat related species names are littoralis (pertaining to the sea shore).
    You can often find used Latin dictionaries or nomenclature dictionaries for botany, not sure about biology though. Still it can be helpful if you can find a cheep used copy. There are also many websites that will show Latin and Greek prefixes, suffixes, and commonly used words that pertain to nomenclature in general.
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2018
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  7. WildSpider

    WildSpider Arachnobaron Active Member

    Thank you so much! I would be interested in finding a copy of one of those dictionaries. Thanks for the suggestion!
  8. MikeyD

    MikeyD Arachnosquire

    And don't be afraid to go to Google and search things like "Latin Suffix Nomenclature" Latin Greek suffix prefix" etc. you will find tables that list the most common and then you can refer to them when you want to look into a species name to see what you can learn about it.
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  9. Ungoliant

    Ungoliant Malleus Aranearum Staff Member

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  10. aphono

    aphono Arachnobaron Active Member

    Wanted to show appreciation for that list you made plus links!

    It's fun to read them out literally- "lined clothing beautiful feet" G. pulchripes. Beautiful lined sock-feet, indeed! I find it easier to help with spelling their names, when broken down & understanding what the components mean.
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  11. MikeyD

    MikeyD Arachnosquire

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  12. boina

    boina Lady of the mites Arachnosupporter

    That site has been around a while. Some of it is right, but unfortunately some of it is wrong, too.
  13. sschind

    sschind Arachnobaron Old Timer

    I know we all hate common names but is some cases where the scientific names are particularly descriptive common names can be helpful in remembering the scientific names as well. I can't think of any tarantulas off the top of my head but I will remember many scientific names simply because they are so descriptive. The big tooth aspen Populus grandidentata (grandi= big or large and dentata refering to teeth) Quaking aspen Populus tremuloides ( tremulus= trembling) Six line wrasse Pseudochelinus hexataenia (hex =6 taennia =band) Six bar lamprologus Neolamprologus sexfasciatus (sex=6 fasciatus= lined striped) Note that my translations may not be spot on but I think they get my point across.

    It can make it much easier to remember the scientific names if you take the time to find out what the names actually mean.
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  14. THR

    THR Arachnosquire

    Does anyone have a etymology dictionary for the generic name?
  15. Greasylake

    Greasylake Arachnoprince

    You mean common names? I don't think there's any kind of dictionary for those as half of them are made up, the same species can have multiple different names and the same common name can be applied to multiple different species. I'd recommend you just to stick to the Latin names.
  16. MikeyD

    MikeyD Arachnosquire

  17. Ungoliant

    Ungoliant Malleus Aranearum Staff Member

    I cover common components of genus names here.

    Though not tarantula-specific, Spiders of North America: An Identification Manual has a great chapter on the etymology of many North America genera of spiders.

    As far as common names go, I don't use them except when talking about my tarantulas to people who don't know about tarantulas. They are too variable and similar to each other. (For example, there are several variations of red/fire/orange leg/knee/rump.)

    The American Arachnological Society has a list of "official" common names for arachnids. It was last updated in 2003, so there have been some taxonomic revisions that aren't reflected here.
    • Acanthoscurria geniculata: whitebanded tarantula
    • Aphonopelma anax: Texas tan tarantula
    • Aphonopelma bicoloratum: Mexican bloodleg tarantula
    • Aphonopelma burica: Costa Rican chestnutzebra tarantula
    • Aphonopelma chalcodes: desert blond tarantula
    • Aphonopelma eutylenum: California ebony tarantula
    • Aphonopelma hentzi: Texas brown tarantula
    • Aphonopelma moderatum: Rio Grande gold tarantula
    • Aphonopelma seemanni: Costa Rican zebra tarantula
    • Avicularia avicularia: pinktoe tarantula
    • Avicularia juruensis: Peruvian pinktoe tarantula; yellowbanded tarantula
    • Avicularia purpurea: Ecuadorian purple tarantula
    • Brachypelma albopilosum: curlyhair tarantula
    • Brachypelma auratum: Mexican flameknee tarantula
    • Brachypelma baumgarteni: Mexican orangebeauty tarantula
    • Brachypelma boehmei: Mexican fireleg tarantula
    • Brachypelma emilia: Mexican redleg tarantula
    • Brachypelma epicureanum: Yucatan rustrump tarantula
    • Brachypelma hamorii: Mexican redknee tarantula
    • Brachypelma klaasi: Mexican pink tarantula
    • Brachypelma vagans: Mexican redrump tarantula
    • Caribena versicolor: Antilles pinktoe tarantula
    • Ceratogyrus brachycephalus: greaterhorned tarantula
    • Ceratogyrus darlingi: curvedhorn tarantula
    • Ceratogyrus marshalli: straighthorned tarantula
    • Chilobrachys andersoni: Burmese mustard tarantula
    • Chilobrachys sericeus: Asian mustard tarantula
    • Chromatopelma cyaneopubescens: greenbottle blue tarantula
    • Crassicrus lamanai: cinnamon taratula
    • Cyriopagopus lividus: cobalt blue tarantula
    • Cyriopagopus minax: Thailand black tarantula
    • Cyriopagopus paganus: Asian chevron tarantula
    • Davus fasciatus: Costa Rican tigerrump tarantula
    • Davus ruficeps: Costa Rican suntiger tarantula
    • Ephebopus murinus: skeleton tarantula
    • Eucratoscelus constrictus: African redrump tarantula
    • Eupalaestrus weijenberghi: whitecollared tarantula
    • Grammostola alticeps: Brazilian graysmoke tarantula
    • Grammostola burzaquensis: Argentinean rose tarantula
    • Grammostola grossa: Pampas tawnyred tarantula
    • Grammostola iheringi: Entre Rios tarantula
    • Grammostola pulchra: Brazilian black tarantula
    • Grammostola rosea: Chilean rose tarantula
    • Heteroscodra maculata: Togo starburst tarantula
    • Hysterocrates crassipes: Cameroon brown tarantula
    • Hysterocrates gigas: Cameroon red tarantula
    • Hysterocrates laticeps: Nigerian rustred tarantula
    • Iridopelma zorodes: Brazilian purple tarantula
    • Lasiodora parahybana: Brazilian salmon tarantula
    • Lasiodorides striatus: stripeleg tarantula
    • Megaphobema mesomelas: Costa Rican redleg tarantula
    • Megaphobema robustum: Colombian giant tarantula
    • Megaphobema velvetosoma: Ecuadorian brownvelvet tarantula
    • Neoholothele incei: Trinidad olive tarantula
    • Ornithoctonus andersoni: Asian mahogany tarantula
    • Pamphobeteus antinous: Bolivian blueleg tarantula
    • Pamphobeteus fortis: Colombian brown tarantula
    • Pamphobeteus insignis: Colombian purplebloom tarantula
    • Pamphobeteus nigricolor: common bluebloom tarantula
    • Pamphobeteus ornatus: Colombian pinkbloom tarantula
    • Pamphobeteus vespertinus: redbloom tarantula
    • Pelinobius muticus: king baboon tarantula
    • Phormictopus cancerides: Haitian brown tarantula
    • Poecilotheria fasciata: Sri Lankan ornamental tarantula
    • Poecilotheria formosa: Salem ornamental tarantula
    • Poecilotheria ornata: fringed ornamental tarantula
    • Poecilotheria regalis: Indian ornamental tarantula
    • Poecilotheria rufilata: redslate ornamental tarantula
    • Poecilotheria subfusca: ivory ornamental tarantula
    • Psalmopoeus cambridgei: Trinidad chevron tarantula
    • Psalmopoeus irminia: suntiger tarantula
    • Psalmopoeus reduncus: Costa Rican orangemouth tarantula
    • Pterinochilus murinus: Mombasa golden starburst tarantula
    • Selenocosmia javanensis: Javan yellowknee tarantula
    • Selenocosmia lanipes: New Guinea brown tarantula
    • Sericopelma angustum: Costa Rican red tarantula
    • Stromatopelma calceatum griseipes: featherleg tarantula
    • Stromatopelma calceatum: featherleg tarantula
    • Tapinauchenius gigas: orange chevron tarantula
    • Tapinauchenius plumipes: Trinidad mahogany tarantula
    • Theraphosa apophysis: goliath pinkfoot tarantula
    • Theraphosa blondi: goliath birdeater tarantula
    • Xenesthis immanis: Colombian lesserblack tarantula
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  18. THR

    THR Arachnosquire

    No, generic name means the former part of the latin name. I don't like common names either.

    I mean the meaning of the generic name, not the common names for them.;)Like theraphosa can be divided into thera- and phosa, what does each part mean? Based on what I've searched, thera means beast and phosa means light.
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 22, 2018
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  19. MintyWood826

    MintyWood826 Arachnobaron Active Member

    Which meaning of light?
  20. StampFan

    StampFan Arachnolord Active Member

    My favourite is Aphonopelma Davemustainei -- all tarantulas should be named after Megadeth.
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